Slow photons

The line where the silvered sea and shining (for before

it was agreed that what possesses name must also have a colour,

such it was, as long as daylight held) sky come together blurs –


the only sign of water vapour in a landscape so (otherwise) dry

that it is a wonder how green life clings tenaciously

to the rocks and red soil of this circular scattering of islands,

how the dancers step through the salt-sown furrows of fields

dark as wine, generation after generation without faltering –


Closer in, the brisk wind (due north, nine days out of ten) whips

white flecks onto the surface where it mixes with the waves,

mimicking the interplay of quartz and schist in the serrated faces

of the cliffs – of silicate and mica on the long soft limbs of the shore –


Closer in.  The irresistible swell, like the diaphragm of some calm

and boundless creature, raises and lets fall four floating forms,

counting, with their slowly circling hands, microseconds of geological time,

contained within the cradling but impassive swing of the oceanic pendulum

which fills with vortices and shining storms as it beats time on the headland,

blurring, where they meet, sky and stone and sea into one.


My mother lifts her head from the sight and says to me:

There is another means of trapping light.”


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